March 8, 2018 – West Bend, WI – City officials in West Bend have confirmed development plans have fallen through regarding razing the old West Bend Brewery on N. Main Street and building a 90-unit apartment complex.
City administrator Jay Shambeau said Robert Bach from P2 Development Company, LLC is no longer pursuing the development.
Since November 2017 Bach was moving forward with a proposed multi-family residential development which would have leveled the brewery building from Franklin Street and Main to the north and include retailers RT Speed Shop, Casa Guadalupe, Pruett’s Floor Covering, Ray’s Shoes, and Fuge Plumbing.
“Everything was progressing in a positive manner,” according to Shambeau. “And then just like that he (Bach) informed Chris Schmidt, the building owner, he was no longer interested.”
The project made an initial pass before the West Bend Plan Commission last November 2017 and a site survey was underway.
“We’re disappointed the development is not going forward but we’re hopeful that this idea has paved the way for someone else to take the ball and complete a project,” Shambeau said.
The old brewery building is owned by Chris Schmidt and Clifton Davis. Schmidt said, “I can’t speak for P2 Development, but I can tell you we are continuing to work with the City and discussing development options with a few different people. There are a lot of good things happening in West Bend, and we believe the property can be improved and be a positive catalyst for the west side of the river, north of Washington Street. I thought P2 Development’s plans would have been successful, but we are currently looking into various uses, in addition to a residential component.”
Building tenant, Ray Carlson owner of Ray’s Shoes, 459 N. Main Street, was pleased to hear the news. Carlson has run his cobbler shop out of the old brewery office building for nearly 20 years.
When the story about razing the brewery first broke in November neighbors were disappointed and heart sick at the loss of another piece of history in West Bend.
My heart high has no skin or money in the game says “ no, no, no.” My brain, as simple as it is, sees the problems and the money needed to take an old building and make it doable in today’s codes. I hope whatever is done is tasteful for downtown and the history it holds and not the ultra modern, industrial look that says nothing to the history of downtown West Bend.
Calls have been placed to Bach and building owner Chris Schmidt. Their comments will be posted when information becomes available.
Shambeau said the city is still moving forward with plans to vacate Franklin Street. That item will go before the council during its next meeting in March.
Nov. 5, 2017 – West Bend, WI – A familiar landmark in West Bend may have a change in its future as a proposal goes before the West Bend Plan Commission this week.
On the agenda for Tuesday, Nov. 7 is a concept plan for a multi-family residential development located at the northeast corner of N. Main Street and Franklin Street, by Robert Bach, P2 Development Company, LLC.
The property is currently owned by Chris Schmidt and Clifton Davis; the pair bought the building in 2010.
“We had the intention of developing it,” said Chris Schmidt of West Bend. “We liked the location, the opportunity to help expand the development on the north side of the river and make that connection from downtown to Regner Park.”
“We’ve looked at expanding the current tenant base or entertain various redevelopment-type discussions from people interested in restaurants and breweries to replacing the building over the last seven years,” said Davis. “Including developing it on our own.”
The financial cost of developing the building and the time commitment was a big job for Davis and Schmidt considering they are young guys with families and day jobs. “It was a pretty big thing to bite off,” said Schmidt.
A mutual decision was made to exit the building and turn the reins over to developer Bach and his company.
Several attempts were made to contact Bach about his proposal.
Both Schmidt and Davis said the idea is very preliminary but early plans include leveling the building and putting up market-rate apartments.
Plans submitted to the city of West Bend are below. Early word is the development would be from Franklin Street north and could include 90 apartments with 100 spaces for underground parking. The grading/levels of the building have yet to be disclosed but to fit that number of apartments the building would have to be more than one story.
Is there a need for more apartments? Davis said it was more of a decision about timing. “We knew we weren’t going to be able to take the building forward,” he said.
“We had more discussions with others about what other alternatives were out there and we got connected with Bob, who has done a lot of high-end developments and I thought that would look great in West Bend,” Davis said. “He has the wherewithal to do it and the experience.”
The decision, for the pair, was difficult.
“We both said early on if somebody came to us with a plan, whether we could be part of it or not, we wouldn’t want to stand in the way of something we thought could benefit the city,” said Schmidt. “Personally I’d love to do what Bob is going to do it’s just he’s at a different place than Clifton and I right now and he can actually pull it off.”
The timeline on the development depends on what is approved by the city.
There are currently multiple tenants in the buildings including RT Speed Shop, Casa Guadalupe, Pruett’s Floor Covering, Ray’s Shoes, and Fuge Plumbing.
Tenants in the buildings have been informed about the possible changes ahead. “We had an initial discussion with them to let them know this is coming,” Davis said. “We don’t know the timeline but we really want to be open and honest with them.”
Schmidt said we he spoke to tenants they had a bit of anxiety about change.
“They were all understanding,” said Schmidt. “I mean the building has its challenges.”
Photo courtesy Terry Becker
When the discussion comes before Plan Commission this week Schmidt will have to recuse himself from the process since he sits on the Plan Commission.
Tuesday’s Plan Commission meeting begins at 6 p.m. at West Bend City Hall. Click HERE to see the full agenda.